Monday, October 1, 2007

Oh Tomatoes!

The First Batch of Canned Tomato Juice!

I didn't grow any tomatoes this year, and my mom only put up a few plants - so what's a gal to do when she's hoping to try her hands at a bit of canning? She gets lucky, she does. Lucky to have a mom, who has a friend, who has tomatoes - lots and up for grabs. (And lucky this friend is also a very kind lady!) So out my mom, my little boy, and myself went to the friends to pick tomatoes on a rather blustery day. The wind was whipping maliciously and chilled us to our bones, but the promise of home-grown tomatoes through the winter months kept our fingers picking.

The Help (He Contributed the Green Ones)

The Fruits of Our Labors

This child-hood friend of my mother's has a marvelous, well-kept garden and the tomatoes were beautiful! We came home with a good amount and went to work canning the next day. On the menu were tomato juice and a basic tomato sauce. Out of a steamy dishwasher, I pulled out hot glass jars and placed them on a flower print cloth laid out on the counter. The light from the window shone through the clear glass creating a cathedral affect. Meanwhile, simmering in a large silver pot were chopped up tomatoes, releasing their juices. In an even bigger silver pot, water was coming to a furious boil waiting to receive sealed jars filled with the red elixir. The kitchen smelled deliciously fresh and wonderful. And oh when we roasted some tomatoes in the oven - sweet, warm goodness.

Canning Jars Lined in a Row

Simmer, Simmer

All the while I felt this energy, knowing I was doing something good for the environment, my community, and my family. I felt a belonging to the natural rhythms of the world and to generations of people before me who took the bounties of their harvest and preserved them in clear glass jars set upon wooden shelves to sustain themselves through winter. My mom's kitchen turned into a gathering place for learning as she passed down the wisdom gained from her mom onto me - wisdom that goes back through the ages.

Check out what other things I eat (cringe) besides tomatoes at my other blog and see the greener side of Southern Idaho and around the world. Join the discussion!

© Meadowlark Farms 2007


Rurality said...

That looks really good! You made fried green tomatoes with the green ones, right?! :)

shepherdgirl said...

Wow, I'm impressed. I didn't dare do tomatoe juice, I heard it's hard to keep. So we just do a quick saute of tomatoes and I freeze them in gallon frezzer bags, which I take out through the winter and use for sauces and soups, etc. I do more freezing like that since it's so easy. I hope, I KNOW you will get your farm some day. Dreams come true, I'm proof of it.

Danielle said...

Man those are some nice looking tomatoes! Mine definitely didn't look that good. What's his secret? Probably good, consistent water helps.

SegoLily said...

Rurality ~ I wish I could say we fried up the green ones, but alas, we didn't. There's always next year though, and I've always wondered just what a fried green tomato tastes like!

Shepherdgirl ~ Next year, I'll probably do the freezer method myself for the ease of it. Thank you for the kind words of encouragement - much appreciated!

Danielle ~ I'm sure there was lots of water involved along with meticulous care. Everything in that garden, yard, house, etc. looks wonderful!

Rosehaven Cottage said...

The photo of your help is just a gorgeous photograph and so fun and adorable as well. Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

Anonymous said...

Hi! Oh, how I remember those "tomato days" :) Now I have a bushel of greenies to contend with. Looking forward to reading more about your farm in progress!! :)

Alan said...

Of course it's easy enough to get a recipe off the internet, but ...

I recall my stepmom coating green tomatoes in flour, or something, and frying them up. They were really tasty. I've tried the big batch thing but always get overwhelmed. Now I try to get different varieties thoughout as much of the year as possible, based on the growing season. Enjoy early stuff early, then once that season is over just look forward to it coming again next year, and then whatever is coming up next.

One cool thing. Those plastic bags that hold water that you place around tomato plants in the early spring really work. You can start getting ripe tomatoes in June using those (in Boise).